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1.  Age Differences in Response Selection for Pure and Mixed Stimulus-Response Mappings and Tasks 
Acta psychologica  2008;129(1):49-60.
Two experiments examined effects of mixed stimulus-response mappings and tasks for older and younger adults. In Experiment 1, participants performed two-choice spatial reaction tasks with blocks of pure and mixed compatible and incompatible mappings. In Experiment 2, a compatible or incompatible mapping was mixed with a Simon task for which the mapping of stimulus color to location was relevant and stimulus location irrelevant. In both experiments older adults showed larger mixing costs than younger adults and larger compatibility effects, with the differences particularly pronounced in Experiment 1 when location mappings were mixed. In mixed conditions, when stimulus location was relevant, older adults benefited more than younger adults from complete repetition of the task and stimulus from the preceding trial. When stimulus location was irrelevant, the benefit of complete repetition did not differ reliably between age groups. The results suggest that the age-related deficit associated with mixing mappings and tasks is primarily due to older adults having more difficulty separating task sets that activate conflicting response codes.
doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2008.04.006
PMCID: PMC2608201  PMID: 18541219
Aging; Attention; Response Selection; 2860 Gerontology; 2346 Attention
2.  A Deficit in Older Adults' Effortful Selection of Cued Responses 
Journal of motor behavior  2006;38(4):265-284.
J. J. Adam et al. (1998) provided evidence for an “age-related deficit in preparing 2 fingers on 2 hands, but not on 1 hand” (p. 870). Instead of having an anatomical basis, the deficit could result from the effortful processing required for individuals to select cued subsets of responses that do not coincide with left and right subgroups. The deficit also could involve either the ultimate benefit that can be attained or the time required to attain that benefit. The authors report 3 experiments (Ns = 40, 48, and 32 participants, respectively) in which they tested those distinctions by using an overlapped hand placement (participants alternated the index and middle fingers of the hands), a normal hand placement, and longer precuing intervals than were used in previous studies. The older adults were able to achieve the full precuing benefit shown by younger adults but required longer to achieve the maximal benefit for most pairs of responses. The deficit did not depend on whether the responses were from different hands, suggesting that it lies primarily in the effortful processing required for those subsets of cued responses that are not selected easily.
PMCID: PMC2111061  PMID: 16801319
aging; precuing; preparation; response selection

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